Banking: Skate to where the puck is

Online banking is a tacked-on experience, for the most part. The standard view upon logging into your online bank is a list of your accounts with some summary information such as your balance and account number. On clicking or tapping an account, you are presented with a list of transactions, if you’re lucky.

If you are even more lucky then your bank has made these human-readable, but more often than not they are a list of semi-codified transactions that take cross-referencing with your own memory to translate. What banks have done is take a paper statement and then copy it directly onto the screen, with little thought or innovation.

In other words, they have done the absolute minimum required.

Monzo webpage

Disrupting the Industry

New banking startups have begun questioning this approach and have instead decided to go back to the drawing board to see how a human focused approach to online banking might look.

Monzo (formerly Mondo) is one example of an app that has taking a more innovative approach to online banking and the experience is much more interesting and informative as a result. The company has launched only a pre-paid credit card and a related app currently; but there are plans to roll out current accounts soon, along with other services.

Once you have received your card you can download the app to look at your statement on your phone, updated in real-time. But one look at the statement makes you realise that it’s no ordinary transaction history.

Notification of spending on an Apple Watch

Information in Context

The Monzo statement app gives you a human-readable transaction history with no coding whatsoever. If a logo for the company that has charged your card is available it will be displayed on the statement to make things easier and by clicking into individual transactions to get information like the address where the transaction was processed, even giving you a map back to the same location.

It will tell you how many times you’ve made purchases at any given store, your average spend there and how much you’ve spent at that store in total and it will categorise that store automatically so that all of your grocery or clothing purchases can be viewed together. You can also add notes to each transaction, including photographs of your receipt if you want. Using that information you can create at an analysis of your spending and see how much you’ve spent on groceries, eating out, transport, or holidays recently.

Screenshots of the Monzo App

Traditional Banks are Falling Behind

If you ever lose your card or suspect that it has been stolen, freezing it is as simple as the click of a button. All of the information that you could possibly need is available with a tap on the app.

The entire experience is so well designed that it begs the question, “What have the traditional banks been doing all this time?”

The phenomenon of a start-up disrupting a well-established industry isn’t a new one, it would hardly be surprising if banking was the next to fall foul.

The entire experience is so well designed that it begs the question, “What have the traditional banks been doing all this time?”

Using the Monzo card to buy coffee

Watch This Space

The team at Sutherland are going to be giving Monzo,and other finance tools such as Splittable, a trial run. Follow us or check back in if you want to hear more about our experiences and other new developments in the financial technology sector.

Principal Design Researcher

Sutherland Labs
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